For better or worse, throwing the two most iconic superheroes together into a film was always going to draw attention. Sure enough, DC’s effort to copy Marvel takes most of the headlines this week, but there’s a lot going on elsewhere in the form of animal utopia, Catholic abuse scandals and challenging period romance.
Even the title feels cluttered, never mind the film. The hype around Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice has been immense, and while critics are suggesting the film isn’t, a two and a half hour running time certainly is. Here we have Ben Affleck as a dark broken Batman taking on Henry Cavill’s Superman the messiah. Except to clog up the works there’s also Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, and a monstrous creation that threatens everyone. But excess has always been the watchword of the superhero genre. You’ll get plenty of that.
If there’s one thing we love, it’s anthropomorphising animals. In Zootropolis, Disney’s latest CGI animation, there’s an entire city of them. The plot follows the unlikely pairing of a rabbit police officer and a red fox con artist, thrown together to investigate the disappearance of certain animal types in their utopia. With strong reviews praising its pace, humour and the inclusive message at the heart of the film, it looks like a winner.
Zootropolis isn’t the only release to feature animals. The Club, the latest from Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín, does too, particularly in one pivotal scene, but it’s a world apart from Disney. Centring on a group of greyhound racing priests banished to a holding home for sexual transgressions, it follows the upheaval when a new Church official arrives to crack down on their comfy existence. This is a dark, dark world with little to no light at the end. It also happens to be brilliant. Not one for those in need of a pick-me-up, it should otherwise appeal to anyone in search of superb cinema.
Despite a number of big releases on DVD this week, they can be forgotten because Carol is all you need. The best film of last year, Todd Haynes’ beautifully controlled 1950s drama charts the burgeoning relationship between Cate Blanchett’s sophisticated housewife and Rooney Mara’s uncertain young photographer in an unforgiving climate. With note perfect performances, gorgeous period design and controlled direction; it’s fabulous in just about every way.
Well that’s that for another week. See you next time when one of Britain’s most infamously useless athletes gets a cinematic outing.